I recently facilitated a workshop on conflict resolution and I found it fascinating that almost everyone thought conflict was about the other person. I heard many comments about how the other person would be so much easier to get along with if they only did this or that but very little about what each participant would do himself or herself to improve the situation.
Conflict can be a horrible mess or it can be an opportunity for growth and increased understanding. The challenge for many people is that it requires putting our own issues to the side in order to connect with someone else. Try thinking of the following ideas the next time you feel a conflict coming on.
1. Be aware of your personal triggers. What sets you off?
2. Remember that you decide how you react to situations.
3. Only you can let someone make you mad.
4. Understand it’s not personal, people aren’t trying to slight you in general.
5. Learn to recognize exactly when someone is getting to you.
5. Where do you feel it? Identify where you feel the conflict in your body.
6. Do something different to interrupt the pattern.
If you deliberately give some thought to these areas you will find that you can reduce the way conflict affects you and move toward more positive interactions. It takes some discipline but it also affords you a way to not let conflict consume your life.